Summary

Eligibility
for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
Location
at UCLA
Dates
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Catherine Sarkisian (ucla)
Headshot of Catherine Sarkisian
Catherine Sarkisian

Description

Summary

There is strong consensus - based on robust randomized trial data - that routine pre-operative (pre-op) testing for cataract surgery is inappropriate. Despite these widely endorsed evidence-based recommendations, most seniors undergoing cataract surgery still receive unnecessary blood testing, EKGs, and chest X-rays (CXRs); another substantial percentage even undergo nonindicated cardiac stress tests. We will integrate three new best practice alert (BPA) nudges into the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Health electronic health record (EHR). The nudges are informed by behavioral economic theory and are designed to alter the choice architecture for physicians to decrease the rate of pre-op test ordering while still preserving clinician autonomy. We will conduct a pragmatic trial to evaluate whether these BPA nudges reduce low-value pre-op testing for cataract surgery.

Official Title

Pragmatic Trial of an Electronic Health Record/Behavioral Economics Intervention to Reduce Pre-Operative Testing for Cataract Surgery

Details

There is strong consensus - based on robust randomized trial data - that routine pre-operative (pre-op) testing for cataract surgery is inappropriate (Keay et al, 2009; Keay et al, 2012; Schein et al, 2000; Chen et al, 2015). Because pre-op testing provides no benefit to patients, the American Academy of Ophthalmology named reducing routine pre-op testing for cataract surgery the #1 issue that patients and physicians should question as part of the Choosing Wisely™ campaign (Schein et al, 2012). Despite these widely endorsed evidence-based recommendations, most seniors undergoing cataract surgery still receive unnecessary blood testing, EKGs, and chest X-rays (CXRs); another substantial percentage even undergo non-indicated cardiac stress tests (Rumball-Smith et al, 2017).

With cataract surgery being the most common medical procedure among Medicare beneficiaries (predicted 4.4 million per year by the year 2030) (Schein et al, 2012), widespread reduction of routine pre-op testing for cataract surgery would reduce costs, reduce exposure to unnecessary and potentially harmful tests, and allow millions of seniors to spend more time enjoying life rather than wasting their time receiving inappropriate health care.

The investigators hypothesize that an interdisciplinary electronic health record (EHR)-based intervention that applies behavioral economics approaches (i.e., "nudges") will dramatically reduce pre-op testing for cataract surgery in a real-world clinical setting. The investigators propose to test this hypothesis by conducting a pragmatic randomized trial, implementing this intervention at UCLA Health (Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center), where ~3200 cataract surgeries are performed per year. The specific aims are to:

  1. Integrate three new BPA nudges into the UCLA Health EHR. The investigators will conduct a four-arm randomized pragmatic trial to compare the effectiveness of the nudges vs. usual care. Three distinct nudges were tailored to highlight the safety aspects of pre-op tests, the financial harms to the patient of experiencing pre-op tests, and the potential psychological harms to the patient of experiencing preop tests. The pragmatic trial will include three types of behavioral nudges to promote the desired reduction in low value care:

    Nudge 1:

    • UCLA Ophthalmologists and Anesthesiologists ADVISE AGAINST routine pre-op testing.
    • UCLA Pre-op Eval and Planning Center (PEPC) will order any needed labs on the day of surgery.
    • Routine pre-op tests are inappropriate.
    • Routine pre-op tests do NOT increase patient safety and go AGAINST local and national guidelines
    • Hard stop before allowing the ordering of a pre-op test where physicians must provide accountable justification: "EXPLAIN WHY GOING AGAINST GUIDELINES"

    Nudge 2:

    • UCLA Ophthalmologists and Anesthesiologists ADVISE AGAINST routine pre-op testing.
    • UCLA Pre-op Eval and Planning Center (PEPC) will order any needed labs on the day of surgery.
    • Routine pre-op tests are inappropriate.
    • Routine pre-operative tests can increase the patient's out-of-pocket costs without improving the safety or medical outcomes of cataract surgery and go AGAINST local and national guidelines
    • Hard stop before allowing the ordering of a pre-op test where physicians must provide accountable justification: "EXPLAIN WHY GOING AGAINST GUIDELINES"

    Nudge 3:

    • UCLA Ophthalmologists and Anesthesiologists ADVISE AGAINST routine pre-op testing.
    • UCLA Pre-op Eval and Planning Center (PEPC) will order any needed labs on the day of surgery.
    • Routine pre-op tests are inappropriate.
    • Routine pre-operative tests can cause aggravation and psychological stress for the patient without improving the safety or medical outcomes of cataract surgery and go AGAINST local and national guidelines
    • Hard stop before allowing the ordering of a pre-op test where physicians must provide accountable justification: "EXPLAIN WHY GOING AGAINST GUIDELINES"
  2. Randomize providers who conducted a pre-op visit in 2019 and those who are expected to conduct such a visit during the 12-month study period to one of 4 study arms (usual pre-op care, Nudge #1, Nudge #2, or Nudge #3) and measure and compare the efficacy of each intervention. The investigators will measure and compare rates of testing before and after initiation of the randomization. Outcomes will be measured 12-months after the intervention start date.

For the primary outcome, we will assess the change in the percentage of cataract patients who undergo one or more pre-op tests after 12 months, where the baseline comparison will be 2019. While we intended to the 12-month pre-period as the baseline, the COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on cataract surgeries. We will compare the percentage of patients receiving pre-op testing in the pooled nudge arms to the usual care arm (primary outcome) and measure the efficacy of each individual nudge arm to determine whether certain behavioral economic framing techniques are more effective than others at reducing pre-op testing (secondary outcomes). Other secondary outcomes will include the change in the percentage of patients who received pre-op labs, pre-op EKGs, and pre-op CXRs. We will also evaluate the total number of pre-op tests patients received, same-day surgery cancellations, cost savings to the health system, and cost savings to the patient. To elicit the views and experiences of physicians, we will survey physicians randomized to all intervention arms to evaluate their experience with the EHR alerts.

Reducing patient exposure to unnecessary care is central to improving patient outcomes and value. This project is fully aligned with UCLA Health leadership's current priority of supporting cross-departmental system change to improve quality of care, outcomes, and value for UCLA patients. Because of the close partnership between our UCLA Informatics co-Investigators and the EHR vendor (Epic), the low-cost intervention that we propose to implement and test will be easily disseminatable to all Epic-based health systems, and will have the potential to dramatically reduce inappropriate pre-op testing across the nation.

EHRs are in their infancy, and the scientific community is only beginning to learn how to use them as tools to promote desired care processes (Meeker et al, 2016). This proposed pragmatic trial would break new ground in our understanding of how behavioral economics approaches can be used to tamp down on care that does not promote better patient outcomes.

Keywords

Pre-Operative Testing for Cataract Surgery, Low Value Care, Cataract Surgery, Behavioral Economics, Cataract, Nudge #1: Alert highlighting the safety/potential harms to patients of undergoing pre-op tests, Nudge #2: Alert highlighting the financial harms to the patient experiencing pre-op tests, Nudge #3: Alert highlighting potential psychological harms to the patient of experiencing pre-op tests

Eligibility

You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

- Patient at UCLA undergoing cataract surgery, and receives pre-operative evaluation at UCLA Health

You CAN'T join if...

- Cataract surgery patients who get their pre-operative evaluation from non-UCLA physicians

Location

  • UCLA Health
    Los Angeles California 90095 United States

Lead Scientist at University of California Health

  • Catherine Sarkisian (ucla)
    Dr. Catherine Sarkisian is a geriatrician and NIH-funded research scientist. Since early in her training she has committed her career to improving quality of life among vulnerable older adults. Most of her work has focused on implementing and evaluating academic-community partnered interventions and more recently, academic-health-system partnered pragmatic trials.

Details

Status
accepting new patients by invitation only
Start Date
Completion Date
(estimated)
Sponsor
University of California, Los Angeles
Links
Choosing Wisely®. American Academy of Ophthalmology: Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question. 2013
ID
NCT04104256
Study Type
Interventional
Participants
Expecting 1000 study participants
Last Updated